Help Me Help My New Foster Dog

Blind Willie Christmas Tree

My new foster dog only has one eye.

It doesn’t work.

In fact, Blind Willie’s big, old, useless eye will have to be removed very soon, and Wayward Dog Foundation is currently raising funds to help cover the surgery.

Eye trouble is one of the health issues common in Jack Russell terriers. Although I do not know Blind Willie’s entire history, I do know he has been seeing impaired for most, if not all, of his life.

willie and scooby

For this resilient and tenacious little terrier, though, his disability isn’t that big of a hurdle.

In fact, the 8-to-10-year-old dog gets around a heck of a lot better than Scooby the elderpin. Willie can go up and down stairs; he can hop on and off of furniture and he can use the electronic doggy door – all without help from people.

willie and luke

Little Willie also knows how to sit and speak for a treat. He’s a pretty good snuggler and content to rest for most of the day.

But at some point every evening he gets a burst of energy. During these periods, he’s a force to be reckoned with – if you are a Kong toy or a vacuum cleaner.

jack russell terrier blind

Willie has been in rescue for a few months, since he was surrendered by his former owners to the Wayward Dog Foundation.

After one failed out-of-state adoption, we are hoping to place Willie somewhere in the Kansas City area. He really does need a special home and a family who will be patient with him but who will also treat him like a regular dog.

Before Willie can be adopted, however, he does need to have his remaining eye removed. It is ulcerated and over time will cause Willie increasing discomfort. The sooner we can remove it, the better.

Buy Biscuits for Willie

One of the ways that I am helping to raise these funds is through the sale of Beer Paws Beer Biscuits.

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Until the funds are raised, $1 from every 6-oz bag and $2 from every 12-oz bag of biscuits sold will be donated to Willie’s fund.

Click here to place your biscuit order.

Note: A portion of sales from all other Beer Paws products sold in February will be donated to the Beer Paws rescue partner of the month Paws Up Rescue of Nebraska.

For Better and Worse – A Pet Love Story #RecipeforMoments

February is here!

I can’t lie, this is my favorite month of the year. I don’t love it for the weather. I love it because it’s my birth month.

My birthday is coming up on February 17, and just before that is Valentine’s Day. I think of that holiday as a time to celebrate love in general, not just the romantic kind but also the love of family, friends and, of course, pets.

The Blog Paws network and Nature’s Recipe® pet foods agree with me on the last part. In fact, they have dubbed February Spoil Your Pet Month. I’m cool with that.

This will be Scooby the elderpin’s 8th year as my canine sweetheart.

New Friends Photography Beer Paws

Credit: New Friends Photography & Design

To be honest, we all know the honeymoon is over in this relationship.

I don’t mean that in a bad way, but taking care of the elderpin can be tough. Potty training was never his forte, but these days I feel like I’m cleaning up Scooby’s messes 5 or 6 times a day. And that’s on top of the cleaning up his team of caretakers at Kennel Creek Pet Resort performs while he’s at daycare.

I’m not mad about it. Scooby’s old. He can’t help his potty problems at this point.

And he deserves special treatment in his twilight period. Doesn’t everyone?

Accidents in the house are a big reason a lot of people give up their pets. I understand – these habits are hard to break, and it sucks to see your property damaged or ruined.

But for every puddle I wipe up, my elderpin will make me smile 10 times. On the best days, he’ll make me laugh, too.

He’ll realize it’s dinnertime, find some reservoir of youth within him and bound across the house top-speed. He’ll steal a piece of steak straight out of Luke’s astonished mouth. He’ll attack a raw knuckle bone that weighs a third of what he does.

He’ll click, click, click up to my side of the bed at night and stand there until I scoop him up so he can sleep in the crook of my arm.

No one loves Scooby like I do. And he doesn’t love anyone the way he loves me.

He’s a good boy. He likes people – especially if they have food or a warm lap on a cold day.

But I am his favorite.

miniature pinscher wearing Carol's Dog Scarves photo by Fido Fetch Photography

If I’m not careful, he will risk his feeble bones by leaping off of beds, chairs and other people’s arms to get to me.

It has always been this way. I had given him back to the owner he had strayed from and wanted to check in to be sure all was well a few days later.

At the door, in the neighbor’s arms, the little dog squirmed and wiggled until the guy just handed him over.

“I think he wants you,” he said.

And I wanted Scooby, warts and all (for real – he had a nasty one on his neck).

I wouldn’t take it back for all the world – or even a dog with a bladder made of steel. Scooby’s my boy.

That’s our love story.

What’s your love story with your dog? Share it in the comments below!

This post is part of a blog hop sponsored by Blog Paws and Nature’s Recipe.

You can join it, too, and enter for a chance to win a collar camera for your cat or dog. To learn more, click here.

Brew Paws: Boomer the Black and Tan

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Today the Brew Paws series returns with Brittany and Boomer, a homebrewing, roadtripping duo who chart their adventures over at the Paws for Beer blog

Why did you start homebrewing?

I love going on brewery tours and visiting tap rooms but what actually inspired me to start home-brewing was President Obama.   I know that may sound kind of odd – but he was what got me to buy my first home-brewing kit.  I was watching the news and there was a story about how the White House was home-brewing beer.  Home-brewing was gaining in popularity a few years ago and Obama wanted to know more about it, so they bought a kit and started brewing beer at the White House.  I thought it was really cool that someone who is that busy took the time to learn how to brew beer.  I also felt that someone, like me, who was a heck of a lot less busy could find some time to brew up a few batches of beer!  I ordered a starter kit and I’ve been brewing for about a year now.  I just brewed up the White House Honey Amber recipe, which you can now buy online, and it is quite delicious!  They also have a White House Honey Porter that I am wanting to try.

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Does Boomer help you in the homebrewing process?

Boomer would probably love to help me brew but I usually let him play outside while I’m brewing.  He’s got a lot of hair and the potential for contamination is higher if he is in the room with me.  He is also a pretty big dog and for him to get under foot while I’m lugging around a 5 gallon brew kettle of hot water probably would not end well for either of us!

What is your favorite type of beer?

I rotate around a bit on what I like but right now I am really into India Pale Ales.  Black IPA’s specifically.  I live in the Pacific Northwest – an area that is well known for growing flavorful hops.  I like the nice crisp bite of a hoppy citrus beer – which that sort of flavoring lends itself to an IPA. IPA’s give you your most bang for your buck with bold flavors and a slightly higher alcohol content so you can drink less beer … not that I do!  If I am not drinking my own home-brew I can usually be found with some sort of Oregon or Washington brewery’s beer in my hand!

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If Boomer was a beer, what kind would he be?

Because of Boomer’s coat coloring I always joke that he would be a black and tan.  So a Guinness with a little Harp beer!

What kind of beers do you brew?

I brew mainly Amber and Pale Ales.  They are pretty easy and do not require refrigeration during the fermentation process like a Lager does.  I throw a lot of beer tasting parties for my friends at my house and find that ambers and pales are the easiest to share.  Although  I like ambers and pales I am going to slowly work my way towards brewing more beers I prefer, like the IPA’s and some darker beers such as porters and see what my friends think of those.  There’s such a wide array of beers out there to try you should never limit yourself to just one kind!

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What makes Boomer a super awesome dog?

Boomer does have a lot of awesomeness but what I like best about him is that I can take him anywhere, to a friend’s house or on a 10 day road trip and he is always excited to be where ever we are going.  We also have a really great bond between us which I have never had that with any other dog before.  He’s a great friend to have and an excellent co-pilot!

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If you like dogs and beer, head over to BeerPaws.com to learn more about my company and how to make your dog a better drinking buddy.

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Baked with Love on St. Simon’s Island

Look what Luke and Scooby munched on all weekend!

dog cookies made by The Island Baker Miranda Loehle

These beautiful treats were a surprise gift, sent by our good friend Miranda Loehle, aka The Island Baker.

The round, dark cookies are carob chip, a safe and healthy alternative to chocolate for dogs. The cute cut outs are peanut butter biscuits.

Miranda also makes delectable cakes and cupcakes for people. Unfortunately, because she lives about 1,500 miles away in St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, the dogs and I are used to admiring her works of edible art from afar.

I can assure you if we lived in her delivery area, I would have two plumper pups!

Thank you, Miranda, for the wonderful surprise!!

For more mouth-watering images of Miranda’s delicious creations for people and canines, check out TheIslandBaker.com!

What’s in the (new) Oven?

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On pretty much any day lately, there’s something in the oven at Wayward House.

For my clever friends, please don’t worry. I am being totally literal here. I’m not talking about figurative buns and ovens.

I’m talking about the real, gosh-darned convection oven that lives in my kitchen.

It’s new, a step up from our old conventional oven. This oven is much better for baking the thing I’m best at baking – doggy beer biscuits.

With the help of my other new friend KitchenAid Mixer, beer biscuits are in nearly non-stop production now.

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To the delight of Luke, Scooby and our frequent four-legged visitors, a peanut buttery smell permeates the house. Reluctantly, Luke has agreed to share the biscuit bounty.

luke sadie roxie

A lot of these treats, made with recycled grains from homebrewers and local breweries, end up in the mouths of shelter dogs. I delivered a big bag of them last weekend to my friends at Unleashed Pet Rescue in Mission, Kansas.

Soon, you will be able to order beer biscuits for your dogs via BeerPaws.com.

beer paws package

In the meantime, if your pooch wants to try a sample, and you live in the U.S., fill out the contact form below. Include your mailing address – it won’t be visible to the public. I’ll send some biscuits to the first five people who respond.

While He Was Sleeping

It’s the end of the weekend, and I can’t wait to be in this state:

sleeping miniature pinscher
As usual, Scooby the elderpin got a lot of zzz’s in this weekend.

The little old guy has earned the right to rest (and, apparently, pee) whenever he darn well pleases.

This also provides me ample opportunities to photograph him looking extra adorable. Case in point:

sleeping miniature pinscher

Sometimes, the snaggletoothed little fellow looks a little silly.

sleeping scooby 3

But even in his sleep, the elderpin always wears his little Scooby smile.

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And now, it’s time for me to follow the elderpin’s lead. Good night, friends!

I know you all take pictures of your super cute dogs while they are sleeping, too. I’d love to see them, so head on over to the Wayward Dogs page on Facebook and share!

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to enter my Cloud Star Dynamo Dog treats giveaway

Dynamo Dog Treats – A Cloud Star Review + Giveaway

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After years of being a walking garbage disposal, capable of consuming crippling amounts of anything he could get into, Scooby the elderpin is getting a sensitive tummy.

In fact, these days, although his dry kibble doesn’t bother him, certain baked treats do. To be on the safe side, when he gets treats nowadays, I make sure they are soft ones.

For that reason, I was thrilled recently when Cloud Star sent the Wayward Dogs an assortment of meaty, chewy treats to try.

In the past, Cloud Star’s Buddy Biscuits have been a big hit at our house. This was the first time Luke and Scooby got to try the Cloud Star Dynamo Dog treats.

cloud star hip and joint

Of course, I love the fact that Cloud Star pet treats are made in the USA. Even better: The Dynamo Dog series is known as Functional Treats.

Featuring all natural ingredients, and no grain, Dynamo Dog treats are designed to support specific, common health issues faced by dogs. There are formulas for skin, tummy and hip and joint issues.

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Scooby and Luke showed equal enthusiasm over all four varieties (hip and joint comes in two flavors). Each rectangular nugget is about one bite for a big dog and a minute or so of chewing for a really old miniature pinscher who is missing a lot of teeth.

cloud star tummy

It is nice having treats like these on hand because I know they are good for my dogs and the dogs enjoy them.

Because Cloud Star was generous enough to offer one Wayward Dogs reader the same assortment we received, you pup also gets a chance to be a Dynamo Dog. Simply follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below for your chance to win. (U.S. addresses only, please.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received free treats for my dogs in exchange for this blog post. However, all opinions expressed are solely my own.

How I Got Named the Rescue Stork

When I asked Zach if I could bring Princess the chihuahua mix home for the night, that’s all I meant.

One night for me to get to know the pipsqueak better so that I could get some photos that would show the world how wonderful she is.

Princess collar

But we kinda fell in love with Princess.

And she kinda fell in love with Zach.

So at the end of night two, he gave her permission to come home with me every night until she was adopted. I did not protest.

As foster dogs go, Princess was a dream. After getting over some first night jitters, she settled in like she owned the place. Here favorite place to perch was Zach’s chest, and she was satisfied to cuddle there all evening. She preferred to sleep in her own bed at night. She didn’t yap when we put her in a kennel. And our dogs didn’t seem to mind having her around at all. In fact, the extra “competition” at dinnertime seemed to kick Scooby the elderpin’s appetite into high gear, which was just fine by me.

And my plan worked.

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Having Princess at our house naturally resulted in a flurry of adorable tiny dog posts on my Instagram and Facebook feeds.

Finally, my friend Katie, who had been intrigued by Princess since she first came into the Wayward Dog Foundation, couldn’t resist anymore. She had to meet the little dog.

So, I packed up Princess in a carrier three days before Christmas. It wasn’t hard to guess the final outcome…

Katie says when the rescue stork showed up, her little family became complete. You can read her take on it over at Pigtales Blog.

What’s Been Going On

I’ve been a bad blogger lately.

Overstacking my plate is a natural tendency of mine that reached new levels in the past few months.

But I don’t want to whine about my self-inflicted busy daze. I want to share some things I haven’t had time to write about. This could take a few days.

Let’s be honest.

After Charlie Machete, I wasn’t sure if we’d ever foster a dog again at Wayward House. Too much emotion and self-doubt surrounded the whole concept. What if we didn’t pay enough attention to our own aging forever dogs? What if we got too attached? What if we failed another dog?

I’m not kidding here. This stuff is heavy.

But I am so tied into the rescue community and have such a heart for dogs that I could not help myself from helping.

The opportunity to contribute to animal rescue was most definitely a motivating factor in the establishment of my business Beer Paws, which gives back a portion of all sales to the cause.

So was the creation of the Wayward Dog Foundation a few months later.

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Yet from spring to December, I only ever brought one adoptable home for the night.

That was Razzy, on the night before he was adopted.

long-haired dachshund

Through the rest of the summer and fall, I kept helping. I raised money. I networked.

Then, in November, I technically had a foster dog again.

He was black.

His name was Charlie.

He never made it to my house.

Charlie the poodle

Charlie the miniature poodle went straight from KC Pet Project to boarding at Kennel Creek Pet Resort, as a guest of the Wayward Dog Foundation.

He barely lasted a week before bewitching my friend, Kennel Creek owner and Foundation co-founder Chris Sailors. (I think PJ Ruth of MOSH Pit KC must have somehow known that would happen when she called me about the poodle she encountered mid-surrender in the shelter lobby.)

Although a far cry from the challenge we faced before, this rescue win – and the successful rehoming of Foundation dogs Buckshot, Penny and Razzy – emboldened me.

So, a few weeks later I got real brave.

I told Zach I wanted to bring a Wayward Dog Foundation adoptable home “just for the night.”

You will never believe what happened next (unless you follow me on Instagram or Facebook and have already seen the evidence).

Come back tomorrow for the full story.

Reflecting on a Really Weird Year

Looking back is what people do at the end of a year.

We review in our minds the awesome, awful and weird things (because that’s the kind of stuff that sticks out in our memories) we’ve done or that have happened to us over the past 12 months.

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Maybe we try to make sense of it all, or maybe we just catalog the incidents as individual souvenirs from a moment in time. Maybe we even let Facebook or Instagram do this all for us through an automatically generated montage of “significant” posts.

I’m no different than any of you.

The biggest moments of my 2013 have been on a constant loop in my head lately. And I don’t know about you, but for me 2013 was intense.

I really can’t remember another year in my life that has been so extreme.

Because this blog is about a little more than just dogs, if you’ve been following, you know 2013 brought death and disappearance to my human family. The dynamics of my canine pack also changed in an unhappy way.

I am not special for having experienced these things. Everyone on the earth experiences loss.

I can only imagine that they, too, experience it as a series of permanent holes in the heart, dark tunnels you ought to be mindful of exploring too late in the night or even too often during the day.

the lost playmate

And yet, you can’t just forget these loved ones even though you can’t hug them anymore. You have to figure out how to carry them with you, to feel their influence but not their weight.

Because your life, your responsibilities – none of that stops.

In fact, if you are like me, you probably forge ahead while creating more responsibilities for yourself. That’s the other half of the reason my year was so intense.

In 2013, I accomplished things I never expected to do.

I started a business.

I co-founded a non-profit organization that helps save dogs.

And through it all, most miraculously, I got to celebrate another round of holidays with my impossibly ancient and beloved elderpin Scooby.

miniature pinscher with Beer Paws koozie

Cheers to 2014. I don’t know what’s in store, but I’m ready for the new year. Are you?

Thanks for reading this blog, and being part of my life in 2013. The community of kind souls who follow this blog and related social media channels make every day better.

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